I’m a huge fan of chocolate advent calendars, but this year I wanted to do something different. I’m making a reusable set of fabric bags which I can fill with a suggested activity for the day. I’ve gathered my favorite things to do from the holiday events guide and added a couple of crafts my family can do together to keep or give away as gifts.
Here are the crafts I love to do with my young daughter and the local shops where we pick up supplies!
Simple felt ornament | Stone Mountain & Daughter Fabrics, Berkeley
Felt is my favorite material when sewing and crafting with kids. It doesn’t need to be hemmed and its texture makes it’s easier to cut and sew with. Stonemountain & Daughter has both acrylic felt and the real deal… wool felt! When I was little, my mom made felt ornaments with me and my brothers. I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to start sewing, until then, we’ll pick up some materials and see what she comes up with.
Materials: felt, buttons, ribbons, thread, polyfill
Sparkly garland | Tinsel Trading, Berkeley
Gold metallic and all things glittery are their specialty. I used to think putting tinsel on my tree was not my style, until I discovered this magical shop. It has everything I didn’t know I wanted! For a truly sparkling tree, we’ll create a garland out of vintage ribbons, metallic thread, and real sequins. If we get hungry, both Cafe Leila and Casa Latina are just a couple blocks away.
Materials: vintage ribbons, metallic thread, sequins, and other sparkly bits and bobs
Homemade playdough | Berkeley Bowl
My daughter's two favorite things to do right now are playing with playdough and helping me in the kitchen. I use an easy playdough recipe we can make together and satisfy both her passions! I love the bulk food section for the main ingredient, flour, I also pick up an essential oil, like peppermint, to give our playdough a special scent.
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup salt
- ½ cup hot water
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
Optional extras: scented oils, food coloring
- Measure out the flour into a large bowl.
- Mix all of the ingredients other together in another container, I like to use something with a handle for easy pouring.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour and mix. That’s it!
- Store in an airtight container such as a zip bag or Tupperware.
Mini Christmas Tree | Flowerland Nursery & Store, Albany
Wandering around the greenery with a hot chocolate from Highwire is a treat unto itself. For my stepson’s teacher, we’ll pick up a small rosemary plant and little pot which he can decorate with paint or ribbons. Voila! A mini Christmas tree and indoor herb garden all in one.
Materials: rosemary plant, pot, paint, ribbons
Christmas Ornaments | FLAX Art Store, Oakland
Lucky for me, this incredible art store moved to Oakland a couple years ago. They have a well stocked children’s section and plenty of seasonal crafts. We’ll pick up a wooden ornament to paint.
Materials: wooden ornament kit, paint, glue, any embellishments
Pom-pom Snowman | The ReCrafting Co., Alameda
This is another great place for creative repurposing. We’ll head here for some yarn to make a Pom-pom Snowman, and certainly come away with something else. If I time it just right we can finish shopping and be the first ones in line for Burma SuperStar. Yumm!
- white yarn
- pipe cleaners
- waterproof craft glue
- beads, buttons, ribbon, bling
Snow Globes | East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, Oakland
The selection changes all the time, but I can always find enough ingredients for a whole classroom project and at a great price. We like to browse their current selection of quirky objects and bring some goodies into my daughter's preschool to make snow globes.
- clean jar with watertight lid
- small objects or figurines
- ½ cup water (distilled works best)
- 1 tsp cup glycerin or corn syrup
- waterproof craft glue or glue gun
Directions for making a snow globe:
- Glue the small objects to the inside of the lid.
- Fill the jar with water leaving enough space for objects and air.
- Add a few drops of glycerin (or about a teaspoon of corn syrup) to the water and stir.
- Sprinkle in some glitter and screw on the lid tightly.
Candy is dandy | Sweet Dreams, Berkeley
To stick with family tradition, I like to pick up chocolate and treats for my child's advent pouches. Be warned, you may want to make this trip on your own. I love giving, but I don’t want to share my Chocolate Almond Caramel Turtles! If you bring a kid along, here are several fun things to do in Elmwood.
Enjoy the Christmas countdown, and shopping locally at some of my favorite places to get crafty!